Thursday, April 18, 2013
Profiles of the top players by position
NEW YORK -- Notable offensive players in the 2013 NFL draft, grouped by projected NFL positions:
Geno Smith, West Virginia: Mixed reviews on Smith, who possibly suffered because of 2012's incredibly strong class ... Solid build ... Gets rid of ball quickly, but has had some accuracy problems ... Questionable ability to read blitz ... Can make completions on run ... Capable of big plays.
Matt Barkley, Southern California: Comes off disappointing and injury-plagued final season at USC ... Has played throughout his career with Trojans in pro-style offense ... A leader ... Inaccurate on deep balls and over middle at times ... Tips off where he is throwing ... Tough player and resilient.
E.J. Manuel, Florida State: Tall, athletic ... Has overcome injury issues in college, played entire 2012 season ... Pretty good arm, can make most throws accurately ... Gambles too much, makes some ill-advised throws ... Leaves pocket too quickly at times.
Mike Glennon, North Carolina State: At 6-7, tallest QB in this group ... Has arm strength teams want ... Inconsistent and mistake prone for most of career ... Doesn't read coverages well.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Big disappointment as senior, but his previous performances with Sooners make him attractive ... Best pure pocket passer of top QB prospects ... Feels pressure and scrambles too soon ... Makes mistakes throwing on run.
ALSO: Tyler Wilson, Arkansas; Ryan Nassib, Syracuse; Tyler Bray, junior, Tennessee; Zac Dysert, Miami, Ohio.
Eddie Lacy, Alabama: Follows Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson as productive Tide runner ... Knows how to handle big games ... Powerful, can run over tacklers ... Might be only RB to go in first round.
Giovani Bernard, junior, North Carolina: Good balance of production in running game and passing game ... Dependable near goal line ... Might play role as kick returner.
Montee Ball, Wisconsin: Record-setting runner who uses his solid build at 5-10, 215 to spring free from behind mammoth blockers ... Always had ball in his hands for Badgers ... Holds NCAA mark for TDs, even tied single-season record with 39 in 2011.
Joseph Randle, junior, Oklahoma State: Versatile, can break a big gainer ... Led Big 12 in rushing with 1,417 yards ... Can play all three downs ... Finds end zone.
Le'Veon Bell, junior, Michigan State: Big, durable back at 6-2, 227 ... Never stops coming and wears down defenders ... Won't do a lot in passing game.
Marcus Lattimore, junior, South Carolina; Andre Ellington, Clemson; Stepfan Taylor, Stanford; Johnathan Franklin, UCLA.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia: Can break a long play every time he touches ball ... Also will be dynamic returning kicks ... Goes only 5-8, 175, but never takes a big hit ... Won Paul Hornung Award as most versatile college player.
Keenan Allen, junior, California: Slow to recover from knee injury after once being rated top WR prospect ... Runs precise routes, has good size at 6-2, 206 ... Not a speed demon, but gets open and fights for ball.
Cordarrelle Patterson, junior, Tennessee: Also can make impact as kick returner ... Scored touchdowns in four ways in 2012 ... Runs pretty good routes and can get open deep ... Does not have great hands.
DeAndre Hopkins, junior, Clemson: Spectacular at times, has excellent footwork ... Scored 18 touchdowns in 2012 ... Has no fear of going after ball in crowds ... Nice size at 6-1, 215.
Robert Woods, junior, Southern California: Big-time player for Trojans for first two seasons, but slumped like rest of team last year ... Elusive, knows how to avoid first hit ... Can make awesome grabs, then drop easier ones.
Terrance Williams, Baylor; Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech; Justin Hunter, Tennessee; Markus Wheaton, Oregon State.
Zach Ertz, junior, Stanford: Top prospect from school that produces tight ends ... Had most yards receiving or any TE in country ... Solid at 6-5, 250 ... Difficult to bring down when he latches on to ball.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: Another school with strong history at position ... Doesn't drop ball ... Much more a receiving tight end than blocker ... Won Mackey Award as nation's best TE.
Vance McDonald, Rice; Travis Kelce, Cincinnati.
Luke Joeckel, junior, Texas A&M: Rated as top prospect for all positions by several analysts ... Strong, aggressive, but also mobile ... Solid fundamentals ... Should be starter from Day 1 and for long time.
Eric Fisher, Central Michigan: Big performance at Senior Bowl and in workouts enhanced his status ... Could play on left side or right ... Excels as pass blocker, but is no slouch in run game, either ... Has strong leadership skills.
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma: Also can play left or right tackle ... Tall for this position, but has flexibility and nice surge off ball ... A former tight end who went from junior college to backup with Sooners to standout.
D.J. Fluker, Alabama: No fluke that he's played on last two national champions ... One of best run blockers in America ... Needs to upgrade his pass blocking ... Probably projects as right tackle in NFL.
Menelik Watson, junior, Florida State: Football was fourth sport ... Native of England who played soccer, boxed and planned college basketball career ... Learned American football's intricacies at junior college, then made big impact for FSU.
Chance Warmack, G, Alabama: Best blocker on college football's best team ... Played for three national champs ... Surges off snap to establish his territory ... Will handle big defenders inside, but could struggle with speed rushers.
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina: Unlike Warmack, Cooper should do well as pulling guard ... Good pass protector because of agility ... Probably needs to get stronger for heavy work inside.
Larry Warford, G, Kentucky: Solid player on bad team ... Huge man at 6-3, 333, uses his size well ... Somewhat mobile for his size ... Has nasty streak on field that serves him well.
Kyle Long, G, Oregon: Son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, brother of Rams DE Chris Long ... A bit inexperienced -- baseball was his No. 1 sport -- but coachable ... Could be long-range project, but has bloodlines to succeed.
Barrett Jones, Alabama: Among nation's most versatile players -- linemen or otherwise ... Comes at defenders every play, even will bark at teammates in heat of game ... Played all over O-line for `Bama, won Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy.
Travis Frederick, junior, Wisconsin: Badgers do linemen well, and Frederick is versatile prospect ... Can also play guard ... Strong, but with enough mobility to make blocks toward outside ... Has a lot to learn as pass protector.
Brian Schwenke, California: Improved throughout college career ... Gets off ball well ... Well-coached player who relies on strong technique as well as mobility ... Not as powerful as he'll need to become.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL